Small businesses, not-for-profits encouraged to take advantage of free upcoming workshops

Post-wildfire recovery is the goal, with workshops designed to help businesses strengthen and grow.

Community Futures Sun Country, in partnership with other local and regional organizations, is offering a series of workshops for businesses and organizations to assist with a variety of needs, including FoodSafe, employee attraction and retention, Gaming Grant applications, and more.

The workshops are either free, or free to qualifying businesses and organizations. They are part of the Wildfire Business Transition Project, and designed to assist those who might be struggling after last year’s wildfires, or looking for skills upgrades for themselves or employees. Pre-registration is required for all workshops.

Basic Bookkeeping workshop

Community Futures Sun Country and Thompson Rivers University are offering a free basic bookkeeping workshop at the Ashcroft Community Hall (409 Bancroft Street) on September 17, 18, and 20 (6 to 9 p.m. each day).

Poor financial management is the number one cause of small business failure. Take the fear out of bookeeping with this three-session workshop, where participants will learn the difference between balance sheets and income statements; what owner’s equity is; the balance sheet equation; the five main types of accounts; debits, credits, and how they apply to each account; and practical, hands-on application.

Gaming Grant application workshop

Is your organization planning to apply to the BC Community Gaming Grant Program? Attend this free, two-part workshop and learn how to prepare a successful application. Part one provides an overview of the grant process and general requirements, while part two offers practical instructions for writing and submitting a successful application.

Both workshops will be held on Saturday, September 29 at the Ashcroft Community Hall. Part one—Gaming Grant Information—is from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., while part two—Gaming Grant Application Writing—is from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Participants who attend both modules will receive lunch.

Participants may be eligible for travel costs. Only 20 seats are available, on a first-come, first-served basis. The workshop is sponsored by Community Futures Sun Country, with support from the Wildfire Business Transition Project and the Northern Interior Communities Association.

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Free FoodSafe Level 1 and 2 courses

A FoodSafe Level 1 course will be held on Tuesday, October 2 from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at The Equality Project clubhouse (1260 Stage Road, Cache Creek). The course is free to employees of businesses, and volunteers with not-for-profit organizations, affected by the 2017 wildfires.

The FoodSafe Level 1 course is appropriate for food handlers, kitchen staff, and dining-room attendants. The course content includes the purchase and storage of potentially hazardous foods, personal hygiene, the causes of food-borne diseases, and maintaining a sanitary food service operation.

The FoodSafe Level 2 course will be held at The Equality Project clubhouse from Monday, October 15 to Tuesday, October 16 (8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. each day). The course is for food service owners, managers, kitchen managers, and executive chefs who have taken Food Safe Level 1, and includes modules on Managing for Food Safety and Writing a Food Safety Plan.

Employee attraction and retention workshop

Attracting and keeping good employees has been challenging for local businesses and not-for-profit organizations, particularly since last summer’s wildfires. In order to be competitive, businesses need to create a culture that will attract the best and the brightest, says change management specialist and workshop leader John Singleton. But before they can do that, they need to understand what new job candidates are looking for.

Back by popular demand, Singleton will be in Ashcroft on October 12 to deliver a trio of free workshops on attracting and retaining employees. The free workshops are sponsored by Community Futures Sun Country, thanks to funding from Western Economic Diversification.

The first workshop—Attracting and Retaining Great Employees—will be on Friday, October 12 from 6 to 9 p.m. There will be two workshops on Saturday, October 13: Bridging the Generational Gap (9 a.m. to noon) and Motivational Interviewing (1 to 4 p.m.). All three workshops will be at the Ashcroft Community Hall.

Communication for small business success

Every business has a story to share. No one knows your business like you do, so position yourself as an expert! Share your expertise through a Communications Plan that helps you achieve your business goals. Learn how to raise your profile through clear communication and compelling storytelling.

This free workshop will help you craft key messages that you repeat in all your communications; engage with your target markets with compelling storytelling; write web content, social media posts, and news releases that get attention; draft quotable quotes; identify media in your sector (websites, trade publications, social media, etc.); start writing your communications plan; and use your story and these skills throughout your business activities.

Takeaways for participants would include an outline for a simple Communications Plan and a better understanding of how communications can help your business achieve its goals. The workshop will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. on Monday, October 22 at the Ashcroft Community Hall.

For more information about any of these workshops, or to register, call the Community Futures Sun Country office at (250) 453-9165 (toll-free 1-800-567-9911). You can also go to

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